The small Hill Country city 85 miles west of San Antonio claims John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, Dale Evans and Matthew McConaughey among its notable natives. Dave Edwards, like most long-time residents, is proud of his community, its history and its attractions. He wants to do his part to promote them.
Since 1982, Edwards has operated Home Furnishings Association member Edwards Furniture in the heart of Uvalde at the intersection of U.S. highways 90 and 83.
Uvalde isn’t a boom-and-bust oil or gas town, Edwards says. Business tends to be steady, and right now it’s good. The area’s staples are farming and ranching, but tourism focused on outdoor recreation has picked up in recent years. There are also historic attractions, including the Briscoe-Garner Museum, named for former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe and Nance, a two-term vice president to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The town celebrates an annual Cactus Jack Festival and supports a charitable Cactus Jack Foundation.
Edwards hopes business will improve a little more, thanks to some 24/7 publicity provided by WOAI, a San Antonio television station absolutely free of charge.
“I wish I could take credit for the idea,” Edwards says. “The WOAI chief engineer contacted me and wanted to know if I’d be interested in them placing their equipment on our roof.”
As in weather equipment that measures temperature, rainfall, humidity and wind direction and speed. And, even better, a webcam. The camera not only affords a view of the town’s treetops, roofs and water tower, but notes its location:
Uvalde – Western Zone
“It seemed like it would be a good thing in giving exposure to our community,” Edwards says. And the focus on Edwards Furniture couldn’t hurt, either.
Edwards’ roof is 30 to 35 feet off the ground, making it one of the downtown area’s taller structures. The building itself was built in the early 1900s, so it’s also a local landmark.
Since the weather gear was installed in late-June, the business has heard from many people who have taken note, Edwards reports. By early August, it was still too soon for him to say it was attracting new customers but, “I can only assume it would be doing so out of some subliminal messaging. It is advertising. There was incentive to allow them to do it, and also for the greater good of the community.”
Edwards, whose family has been in the furniture business since 1962 and runs stores in other Texas towns, relies on fair dealing and good customer service more than weather information to sell furniture. Nevertheless, he’s enjoying the web cam perched overhead. He’s offered “a summer of cool savings and hot sun,” with on-the-spot sensors to record just how hot it is.